Zeno – If you have ever wondered whether the world was simply an illusion then you can rest assured you are not the first. Zeno’s paradoxes exposed troubles in basic logic of reality. Zeno questioned basic motion based on the concept of endless division. In his analogue, Zeno points out that if one wishes to move from point A to B, then he must move first halfway from A to B. If he is to move half way, he must then move a quarter of the way, and this can continues ad infinitum. He concluded that motion must be an illusion, as one can never reach the target.
Aristotle – It is hard to create any list of great thinkers without entering the name of Aristotle. Born in 384 B.C. Aristotle created concepts that are still as valid today as they were in his time. He established the Golden Mean, which allowed which asked one to avoid excess and depletion to locate true happiness.
Plato – The teacher of Aristotle, Plato first derived the concepts of Forms, and thus devised a particular form a thought known as synthetic ideology. This form of thought asserted that items within the world were created from the brain. For Plato, the perfect form of any item was the idea, and not found by our perceptions. Plato was also the first prominent thinker to conceive of the separation of powers in government. He did so as a general concept he conceived where the mind, body, and should must be in alignment and thus, so too must society.
Epicurus – This stoic followed the order of his belief system that sought to remove emotion from one’s rational process. To a stoic, one must remove the need for an emotive response to make proper decisions. Epicurus also gave to the theory of Ethics and Happiness. He sought secure tranquility through the removal of pain. To Epicurus, happiness was found in the lack of pain. In other words, happiness itself was a lack of something, rather than the gaining of an item.
St. Thomas Aquinas – Beyond his being sainted, Aquinas was a large proponent in the steps toward understanding of epistemology. The study involves understanding what it is we can know, and how we come to know it. Of course, much of his work is toward the concept of Dogma and what it is we may know of God. The great thinkers work is still used today in the debate of our knowledge pertaining to God, as well as the cause of Evil, and the extension of Good. Whether agreed upon or used as an example of analytical missteps, Aquinas’ work is highly regarded by the religious and non-religious alike.
Thomas Hobbes – In the early 1600s Thomas Hobbes first conceived of the concept of the state of Nature and the human Social Contract. This concept denoted that nature was devoid of rules and that humans entered a sort of unspoken contract with one another to coexist either in parallel or unity. He continued his dissection of society with the Leviathan, which explained the society’s workings that still hold true to this day, including Commonwealth, Religion, and Social Structure.
David Hume – In sharp contrast to the Stoic ideologue, Hume believed that ethics and concepts of Good or right action was defined by emotion and not reason. Hume also created important writings regarding Causation, Free Will, and Self Identity. His works on inductive reasoning are still considered as some of the more respectable works of all time.
Immanuel Kant – Astronomer turned philosopher, the Prussian was well known for his ability to deduce from experience. He not only had highly influential works in the theories of Ideologue, Metaphysics, Logic, Ethics, and Aesthetics, but also rightly deduced that nebulae were disks in the 1700s. When working on his theory of physics and ethics, Kant went through a decade of solitude to focus his energies on his work. He was noted to be so predictable with his daily dealings in this time, that one could set their watch by his comings and goings during the day.
John Stuart Mill – The Father of Utilitarianism, Mill wrote his first works as a teenager years. At age twenty, he suffered a nervous breakdown to his tireless work. Mill founded the concept of Utilitarianism, which promotes the most good for the most people are the action or item that should be adopted. Mill also wrote “On Liberty” which helped mold the modern concept of freedom of repression seen in today’s Libertarian ideologues.
Arthur Schopenhauer – The German Philosopher is best known for his criticisms of Kant and Hegel, as well as his contributions to Aesthetics and Ethics, and most prominently Epistemology. Schopenhauer was a pessimist of the world and examined how one came to know items. He also found himself on opposing sides of a political isle on many social issues. He was infamously one of the first philosophers to speak upon homosexuality since the Greeks, noting it was a useful alternative to ill-begotten children and he concerned himself with the plight of animals. However, if one were to assume he was then a liberal thinker, they should be pointed toward his quote stating, “Woman by nature is meant to obey.”
Fredrick Nietzsche – This German Philosopher’s work consisted of fiery assertion that those who were capable of pure freedom and liberty had only themselves to rely on to achieve such goals. He stated that many in the world were “sheep” and part of “a herd”, and were wholly incapable of being “a superman.” Nietzsche believed that the masses were wholly incapable of making higher decision or vote upon right actions and that it was the responsibility of the ascended Supermen to control the world. Later in his life Nietzsche seemed to turn a corner and spoke of each person escaping to their own tower and working on what pleased them most. A rather daunting turn around considering his previous works.
Ludwig Wittgenstein – A contemporary of Nietzsche and a classmate of Adolf Hitler, this philosopher ended up the more influential philosopher of the 20th century. Wittgenstein’s famously declared that he had solved all philosophical problems after his first book, the Tractates. However, he returned to philosophy and his Philosophical Investigations pointed to a direct problem within human concepts of language, or what he called Language Games. Wittgenstein is seen by some to be an Anti-philosopher philosopher, as his guiding point was that it all philosophical problems are based simply upon our misunderstanding of one another’s language and not truly problems to concern ourselves with. “What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence,”